Learning to write SEO

I want to be good at writing SEO copy (search engine optimisation), but it’s a different skill to writing copy.

What I know about it

I have a basic understanding of what SEO is and why it’s used, thanks to an internship I did with an internet marketing company a few years ago.

It’s about using keywords to improve a website’s rankings in search engines, or at least part of it is. I’ve read that when it comes to selecting keywords, it helps to find out what your competitor’s keywords are and use words similar to these.

There’s a reason for this. If your competitor is already on the front page of a Google search with specific words, it’s going to be hard climbing the rankings using the exact same words.

People who write with SEO in mind also have to keep track of search engine developments. Apparently Google punishes duplicate content by shoving it right down the bottom of the search rankings. Cruel.

Why I want to be good at it

I was recently asked to write a couple of pieces of trial copy applying SEO and keywords, and it was tough.

For one piece, which I had to edit, I got caught out by writing too similarly to the copy of the original page (see duplicate content punishment above). I can see how irritating this could be for writers who believe in writing simply for best results. It must be annoying to write no more than what’s needed and be told your writing resembles other copy too much.

For another piece, I had to rigorously study their existing web pages to learn what their keywords were. There’s definitely a challenge in writing with a few select words without repeating the meaning of previous sentences. It’s tough, but I’d like to be good at it.

Learning how to write good copy is one thing, learning to write good SEO copy is another. It can be annoying to follow search engine rules when they’re changing every six months (or something like that), but it’s good to master writing new information with a select few words.


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